A wholesaler is cooking up a new location at a vacant retail site on Long Island.
Restaurant Depot is taking over 65,000 square feet at the Riverhead Plaza shopping center, 765 Old Country Road. It has signed a 15-year lease with landlord Philips International.
The Riverhead space was previously occupied by Walmart, which abandoned it in 2014 to move 3 miles west to 1890 Old Country Road. It’s been vacant ever since. Nearly 47,000 square feet of the original Walmart space is still available for lease.
Wholesalers like Restaurant Depot, which supplies foodservice businesses, typically avoid high-traffic retail locations, which have higher rent than out-of-the-way industrial spaces. But after seven years of vacancy, the Riverhead site might have been available at a discount. Terms of the lease were not available.
“We are eager and excited for Phillips International to fill the vacancy left by Walmart and are confident that Restaurant Depot will have much success at this location,” Yvette Aguiar, Riverhead’s town supervisor, said in a statement.
Robert Tunis and Jared Rutledge of Colliers International represented the tenant in the transaction while Andrew Aberham of Philips International and Gary Brody of Brody Realty represented the landlord.
Restaurant Depot is a members-only chain selling wholesale food, beverages, equipment and supplies for restaurants and bars. It operates more than 130 stores in 30 states.
Though wholesalers do not attract shoppers in the same way a Walmart does, Seth Pilevsky, co-president of Philips International, said the new tenant is welcomed all the same. His site, a few miles east of where the Long Island Expressway ends, features big-box stores mixed with small national and local retailers, which Pilevsky claimed have performed well despite Walmart’s departure.
Phillips International owns nearly 300 properties across the United States, spanning retail, office, multi-family and hotel sectors. The company has offices in New York, Florida and New England.
Pilevsky cited the shopping center’s proximity to restaurants and vineyards as a reason for Restaurant Depot signing the lease.
“The property’s location along Country Road 58, less than two miles from the Tanger Outlets and only 25 miles from Southampton, is ideal for Restaurant Depot,” Pilevsky said in a statement.
Restaurant Depot, founded in 1990, says on its website that it offers free membership cards at its warehouse stores to owners and managers of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, pizzerias, night clubs, caterers, delis, foodservice distributors and nonprofits.